This is a charming historical fiction set in 1950s London and is a follow up to the Jane Austen Society book, but can be read as a stand-alone. The story is set in Bloomsbury Books, a new and rare book store that has been running for a hundred years. It is run by men that are set in their ways. The general manager created 51 unbreakable rules that all employees must abide by, and they especially chafe the women working at the store.
The story concerns three women who are all dealing with their own problems – stifling creativity, a bad marriage, and mysogeny stunting an academic career path. The women interact with various literary figures of their time as they work together to achieve their goals.
I really enjoyed this book. It provides great insight into the time period and it was fun to imagine what the literary figures would have been like as they interact with the workers at the book store. The author did a great job of creating the main characters and it was wonderful to see how they worked out their problems and came up with creative solutions. The minor characters provided good foils for the women, and it was nice that the author didn’t make the men into one-dimensional bad guys. They were clearly a product of the times and the author did a great job of depicting why they thought and acted like they did.
This is a heartwarming story that will give you all the good feels. If you’re looking for a book that will give you a good hug, this is the one for you.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press. All opinions are my own.